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Issue Date: April 2007 Issue

Back to the Future

Steve Gleydura
Rerrence Sheridan opens Cleveland Magazine’s first cover story, in April 1972, with an epiphany.

“On November 5, 1969, a lapsed poet, precocious Dennis Kucinich, his face alight with lambent ambition, quietly launched his campaign for President of the United States.”

With 35 years in the magazine’s rearview, it’s hard to imagine a better first line. For those of us not lucky enough to read “Denny the Kid and the Contest of Confrontational Politics” in that debut issue of
Cleveland Magazine, it’s worth revisiting, not just as a historical piece, but also as an examination of the former mayor, congressman and presidential dreamer. (You can read the story online at

In fact, there was a lot to love about that first issue.

Four simple cover lines ran above an amazing illustration of Kucinich unveiling an imaginative White House from under his Uncle Sam hat: “Who Wants to Be Mayor?” “Dope Interviews,” “Golfer’s Guide,” “Denny the Kid.”

Inside, there was a funkadelic calendar of events (Jethro Tull was in town on the 18th of April, and Pink Floyd played Akron four days later).
I also found 34 great places to hit the links, in which I discovered that women’s tee times were still restricted at many courses on weekends (a fact that likely upset columnist Babette Blaushild, whose essay on women argued that “equality is equality of choice.”)

And what city magazine would be complete without some talk of food? So the first issue of
Cleveland Magazine tackled the demise of the drive-in burger joint, from Manners and Kenny King’s to Bearden’s and Diney’s, as they were being transformed into “family restaurants” and overtaken by McDonald’s, Beef Corral, Burger Chef and Red Barn.

But my favorite find in that first issue comes near the end of Estelle Zannes’ examination of the city’s mayoral struggles:
“As [Ralph] Locher recently stated, ‘The city of Cleveland will never regain the clout that it once had.’ When the ring was drawn around the city and the suburbs grew, it became just a fraction of the county. It began to lose its tax base every time the court of tax appeals reduced taxes on businesses downtown. Every time hundreds of buildings were razed and demolished because they’d been gutted and vandalized, every time the people moved farther out, it lost power and subsequently its leadership. The present mayor of Cleveland is no longer the strong, strident voice that the mayors of Cleveland once were.”

Thirty-five years later, it looks like that first issue got a lot right when it comes to what makes a great city magazine — it’s a lead we still follow today.

So, don’t miss Erick Trickey’s look at Sherrod Brown , Lynne Thompson’s examination of The Raspberries reunion  and our peek inside real people’s paychecks.

Unfortunately, we don’t often do trivia contests. So I dipped back into that first issue for a few questions from theirs. You can fill out the quiz at our Web site (and we promise a better first prize than an autographed photo of Captain Penny.)

1. In 1948, the Cleveland Indians won the American League Pennant and the World Series. Which of the following was not a member of the team:
(a) Al Rosen (b) Bob Lemon (c) Satchel Paige (d) Bob Feller (e) Whitey Ford (f) Jim Hegan (g) Larry Doby

2. In what month and year did the Cuyahoga River last catch fire?

3. Eliot Ness ran for mayor of Cleveland in what year? Who defeated him?

4. In 1906, a systemized plan for numbering and naming the streets was begun in Cleveland. What were the original names of the following streets?
(a) East 9th Street (b) West 6th Street (c) Carnegie Avenue (d) East 3rd Street (e) East 6th Street (f) West 25th Street (g) West 117th Street (h) East 14th Street

5. Who was mayor of Cleveland in April 1972?

6. Cleveland poet d. a. levy published the first issue of The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle in what year? When and where was the last issue published?

7. What is the Swahili word for “meeting place?”

8. In 1972, Cleveland ranked where among the largest in the United States?

9. What was the name of Dorothy Fuldheim’s theme song?

10. What is Lou Groza’s license plate number?

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